And the Award Goes To…
By Maressa Valliant
And the award goes to… Chuckanut Brewery of course! This local gem has been raking in the recognition for over a decade with their traditional European style beers. But what we don’t always see or hear about is their continued commitment to consistently supporting local farms and food producers to serve a delicious seasonal menu year-round! From their famous Reuben made with Avenue’s marbled Rye to the seasonal creme brulee…their plates match their brews in quality and customer satisfaction. But what exactly makes Chuckanut so dear to locals and visitors alike?
Spend a few minutes with owner, Mari Kemper, or any of their team, and you’ll understand. Their warmth and passion for what they bring to your glass and your plate is genuine. You can hear the joy in Mari’s voice as she talks about her staff, and the loyal customers that frequent their locations, and their funky building on Holly Street. “We love the architecture, and we love the waterfront.” She motions to the window to indicate where she has observed a variety of birds like Gray Heron and Kingfishers . “People enjoy our patio in every season, there is always something captivating to see.”
When I inquire about folks’ favorite items on the menu, Mari chuckles and starts to list off: The Reuben, the scratch-made clam chowder, and the Brewmasters Meatloaf which made it’s long-awaited return in November from a lighter spring and summer menu.
Chuckanut does a phenomenal job of creating a seasonal menu highlighting the best of what is available from their favorite purveyors: Cascadia Mushrooms, Barleans, Terra Verde Farm, Painted Hills Beef, Draper Valley Chicken and of course Avenue Bread who makes an exclusive Marble Rye just for Chuckanut’s Reuben. They describe head Chef, Jabez, as creative and smart, always having options for all dietary needs. One unique thing about this kitchen is that there is no fryer! They utilize their WoodStone oven as much as possible using baking techniques for healthier offerings.
If you get the chance to talk at all with Spencer, the Front of House Manager, ask him to share some of the thousands of fun facts swirling in his brain about Chuckanut’s beers and their histories. Like the Bock – originally brewed by monks as a fasting beer, go figure! You might also learn from Spencer that Bock is the German word for goat, which is why it is sometimes referred to as “Goat Beer”. Be sure to check out their ‘Golden Goat’ trophy proudly displayed in the bar.
World Beer Cup awards line the wall of the restaurant entryway above a most impressive collection of over 80 medals (Check out the list of accolades here!) Chuckanut Brewing is world renowned; people travel from far and wide to drink their beers, it is truly remarkable the following they have built over the years.
Mari states repeatedly how much they value their fellow brewing community in Bellingham. She loves how many diverse breweries there are in Bellingham and NW Washington and remarks, “After Kulshan opened, people realized that you don’t just have to go to one brewery.” They like being known for their signature German and European style brews, and are happy to let others do their best IPA’s and such. Recently, Mari has started doing radio spots on KISM radio, and has been surprised at how many folks come in to the brewery just because of that piece. They recognize her voice and feel connected after having heard her talk about how she finds beer so much more interesting that wine; this beverage made with only 4 ingredients: hops, malt, water and yeast, and yet endless possibilities! Go visit Chuckanut and try something different – Dunkel, Pilsner, Vienna and more await you!
With two locations to serve locals and visitors alike – The “North Nut” is on the Downtown Bellingham Waterfront at Holly St., and the “South Nut” is located on Higgins Airport Way in Burlington. Click for more details and directions: